The Scotiabank Gold American Express Card Review

Scotiabank Gold American Express CardThe Scotiabank Gold American Express card offers Canada’s richest rewards rate of 4% and ushers in a new era of flexible travel redemption programs into the Canadian marketplace.

With a limited time $99 first year annual fee waiver and a 20,000 point sign-up bonus worth $200 (offer expires January 31, 2017)  this is a great time to try the card out risk free.

The Scotiabank Gold Amex card offers one of Canada’s highest earn rates of 4% on gas, grocery, dining and entertainment spend and 1% everywhere else. No other credit card in Canada offers 4% in that many categories. It’s also one of Canada’s most flexible travel cards, offering the flexibility to redeem your cash equivalent points for ANY travel expense! It also has one of the country’s best travel insurance programs.

Get the card to get your limited time $200 welcome bonus offer and first year annual fee waiver. With no annual fee Scotia is paying you $200 to give the card a try – with such good value, we say it’s worth a shot.

Apply Now!

Earning Points on Scotiabank Gold

The sign-up bonus of 20,000 points, with no annual fee in the first year is extremely competitive. 20,000 points, is worth $200. The only thing you’ll have to do is spend $750 in the first 3 months. If you’re spending $250 a month anyways (think gas & groceries alone), it’s a great deal.

The value proposition on the card is simple, you earn 4% on all gas, grocery, dining and entertainment purchases, up to $50,000 per year, after which you’ll earn 1%. You’ll also earn 1% on purchases in all other categories. The 4% value is extremely rich.

While some cash back cards offer 4% cash back, they only do it for gas and grocery purchases. The Scotiabank Gold card does it for gas, grocery, dining and entertainment purchases making it standout from the pack.

Consider the average Canadian spends $5,588 a year on groceries, $2,207 on restaurants, $3,600 a year on gas, and let’s throw in an additional $8,000 on other credit card spend. Based on that spend profile you’ll earn the equivalent of $535 per year in rewards – robust.

Redeeming Points With Scotiabank Gold

One of the most innovative features of the Scotiabank Gold American Express card is that it allows you to book your travel first, then redeem your points to cover your travel costs after, as follows:

  1. Book any flight, hotel, car, cruise, train or package, on your credit card
  2. Wait for your travel purchases to appear on your credit card statement
  3. Then apply your points to your travel expenses on your credit card (100 points = $1)

This allows you to book on any airline, hotel, cruise or vacation package without any restrictions. No blackout dates, seat restrictions, or extra points for high season. You can also pay for all taxes and fees with your points!

Comparing Value Per $1 Spent On Your Credit Card

As we’ve said before, the earn rate on the Scotiabank Gold American Express card is the highest of any card in Canada.

We’ve done some math to verify our assessment. Each point is worth 1 cent. As a result, you’re getting 4% back on gas, grocery, restaurant and entertainment spend and 1% everywhere else. That compares very favorably to the RBC Avion, CIBC Aventura, BMO World Elite or CapOne Aspire. By comparison, the BMO World Elite and CapOne Aspire offer 2% on all spend. You can see just how rich a 4% earn rate is when compared to other cards.

If you have a lot of spend outside of gas, grocery, restaurants and entertainment, you might want to consider something that gives more bang for your buck than the Scotia Amex Gold card does, which still gives a respectable 1% on all other purchases.

To see other alternatives, you can use our credit card comparison tool to find the best credit card for you, which has already converted points to their dollar value and allows you to enter your spend by category to see how much each card will earn you.


Not to be outdone, Scotia has embedded a host of travel related benefits that we believe ranks it as one of the top 5 cards in Canada for insurance coverage. In fact the total package of embedded benefits can easily be worth over $1,000 per year if your travel:

  • Travel Emergency Medical Insurance –  As the primary cardmember, you, your spouse and accompanying dependent children are each automatically covered for up to $1 million in emergency medical coverage for up to 25 consecutive days out of province.
  • Trip Interruption & Cancellation Insurance
  • Flight Delay
  • Delayed & Lost Luggage Insurance
  • Common Carrier Travel Accident Insurance
  • Rental Car Collision / Loss Damage Insurance
  • Hotel / Motel Burglary Insurance
  • Purchase Security & Extended Warranty Insurance – personal items purchased on your credit card are insured against theft, loss or damage for their first 90 days after purchase!
  • Price Protection Service – Use your card to buy a new item that is offered for sale at a lower price within 60 days of purchase, the Price Protection Service, will pay you the difference up to $100.

Worth it?

In our view, Scotia’s current limited time first year annual fee waiver with a $200 sign-up bonus offer makes it one of the top offers in the current Canadian marketplace. It’s also the best offer Scotia makes available for the card all year.

Usually the Scotia Amex Gold has a $150 sign-up bonus with a $99 annual fee to start – so this promotion is $240 richer than its standard welcome bonus offer. Also, the 4% earn rate on gas, grocery, restaurant and entertainment is unmatched in Canada. Because you can apply your earnings to ANY travel expense on your credit card statement, you can start redeeming your welcome bonus right away!

Apply Now!



  1. Can you transfer the scotiabank american express points 1:1 to aeroplan?

    • Hi Katie,

      Unfortunately not. However, you can book any flight you want, anyway you want and you’ll be able to apply the cash value of your Scotia points to your flight cost. For example, let’s say you have 40,000 Scotia points, worth $400. You then book an Air Canada flight on Expedia for $350. You can use 35,000 Scotia points to pay for the trip – up to 12 months AFTER the charge appears on your credit card!

      Hope that helps!

      GreedyRates Staff

  2. Do you know if Scotiabank counts Aeroplan or Airmiles tax purchases as a travel expense? I have Aeroplan and Airmiles points and I am thinking if I purchase a flight I could pay the taxes of the flight with my Scotiabank card and then use the Scotiapoints to pay off the taxes?

    • Hi Rzana,

      Yes, when redeeming your Aeroplan miles, if you pay for the taxes and fees with your Scotia Amex Gold Card, it will count as a travel purchase. As such, you will be able to redeem whatever Scotia rewards you have against the purchase on your credit card statement. Great idea by the way!

      Hope that helps!

      GreedyRates Staff

      • Hello,

        Interesting side note, it looks like Aeroplan taxes and fees on a flight qualify as a travel purchase, but Airmiles taxes and fees on a flight do NOT qualify as a travel purchase. I wonder why that is?

        First I thought, well, Airmiles allows you to redeem for regular merchandise and maybe that is why Airmiles purchases are not coded as “travel” when it posts on the credit card but then I thought Aeroplan has the eStore which allows for the purchase of regular merchadise, so I was left wondering why Airmiles purchases are never coded as “travel” but Aeroplan purchases are (or at least sometimes are)?

        I wonder what the deal is here? Maybe the Aeroplan eStore purchases are actually not coded as “travel” but flight taxes and fees are? If that is the case though, then I would have thought that flight taxes and fees for an Airmiles redemption would qualify but merchandise Airmiles redemptions would not but it seems Airmiles redemptions (whether flight taxes/fees or not) do not seem to ever fall under the “travel” category.



        • Hi Chad,

          Thanks for the feedback. Guessing Air Miles site is not coded under travel SIC merchant code, while Aeroplan is – simple as that. Aeroplan’s e-store, may have a different SIC merchant code from it’s travel redemption site.

          GreedyRates Staff

  3. Hello,

    Just as a heads up, this card is also currently offering FYF! Makes this card even more appealing!

    Keep up the great work…love the site!

    • Hi Chad,

      We were just waiting for the link to go live and Scotia’s landing page to reflect the offer! All updates to the new offer have been made. Great opportunity.

      Thanks for the kind words!

      GreedyRates Staff

  4. I deal with scotiabank for everything and have a STEP account, am employed and have good rating rating yet I was denied a scotiabank Gold Amex card and not sure why I do not meet their criteria???

    • Hi Sharon,

      Usually you can call Scotia and ask them to provide you with the reason for your decline – i.e. debt/income ratio, credit score, incomplete application, not enough income. Once you have that information you can take the next step.

      GreedyRates Staff

  5. td first class travel with no fee vs scotia amex. cant decide

    • Hi Rick,

      It all depends on where you spend. Both are good cards, Scotia Amex has a little more redemption flexibility. TD First Class offers great value if you travel a lot through Expedia, and are willing to redeem through Expedia (4.5% earn rate). If most of your spend is in gas, grocery and dining then Amex is the way to go. You just have to make sure your regular merchants accept Amex (for example Costco & Loblaws do not).

      But if you bank at TD, and have a premium chekcing account, the annual fee on the TDFC can be waived, which also brings great value.

      GreedyRates Staff

  6. I currently have TD first class travel card with all inclusive bank account, So I do not pay any annual fee. I spend over $35,000/year on this card but don’t get enough benefits from this. I am thinking of applying this credit card. I mostly shop at sobeys and restaurants.

    • Hi Rahul,

      If you’re spending $35K per year, chances are a significant portion of your spend is outside of Sobeys and restaurants, would we be right on that? If so, you’ll only be getting 1% on those purchases from your Scotiabank Gold Amex card. You might want to also consider a premium travel card that gives you 2% on all spend like the MBNA World Elite, or BMO World Elite MasterCard. Check out your approximate earn rate on our travel card comparison page.

      Regardless, we would say in your case the Scotia Amex Gold would come out ahead of the TD First Class Infinite, due to the 4% earn rate you’ll get at Sobeys and restaurants, versus 1.5% with the TD First Class Infinite card.

      Hope that helps,

      GreedyRates Staff

  7. Also worth noting that points from Scotia Amex cards can be used retroactively for up to 12 months. So when you’re ready to cancel the card, you can apply all your outstanding points to any travel purchase in the last year. With many other cards, it’s difficult to use up the points at the time of cancellation unless you have a travel booking to make at that time. Failing that, because the points are Scotia points, not Amex points, they can be transferred to another lower-fee Scotia card.

    • Great point Peter. One question though. If you’ve already paid down your balance from your trip 11 months ago (for example), what balance are your points being applied against?

      GreedyRates Staff

      • Even though you already paid out your travel expenses, it will deduct the amount from the balance from other purchases. For example, you had travel expenses for 500 in January and already paid in full. In May you have balance form other purchases for 1000, you can apply the points for 500, then you only need to pay 500 in May. It really gives you the flexcibility to manage your cash flow.

        • Hi Glenn,

          Great point. Just to reiterate, Scotia tallies all of your travel expenses, and allows you to redeem your points against expenses at any point in time within 12 months from the date the travel purchase was posted to your account. Very flexible.

          Thanks Glenn,

          GreedyRates Staff

  8. I currently have a Capital One Aspire Travel costing $120 per month with annual 10,000 bonus points and never expiring 2x point per $ on any purchases. Scotiobank called me today and offered me a pre-approved Gold American Express. Should I take it? AFAICS I’m better off with C1 because of the annual award and the 2x points on any purchases, or? Are there any other cards which can compete with the now-no-longer-offered-in-the-form-described-here C1 Aspire card?

    • Hi Simon,

      The legacy CapOne card has a strong value proposition no doubt. However, we would say that the optimal way to maximize rewards is through the welcome bonuses offered through new card sign-ups. For example, your current C1 card offers 2%, $100 bonus & $120 fee. If you get the MBNA Rewards World Elite card, you’ll get 2%, $100 & no fee in the first year. Get the TD Aeroplan Infinite card and you’ll get around 1.8%, 25,000 miles (~$320), & no fee in the 1st year. Scotia Gold often offers no fee in 1st year, $200 bonus and up to 4%.

      The largest share of value is in the welcome bonus and fee waivers. That’s where you should focus, in our opinion.

      Hope that helps,

      GreedyRates Staff

  9. Just got my scotia gold Amex yesterday. How long does it take for the 20 000 points to be added to the account?

    • Hi Jaimie,

      Per Scotia: “The bonus points will appear as an adjustment on your Scotiabank Gold American Express Card statement within two statement cycles after the third billing cycle has passed.”

      They wait 3 statements to ensure you meet the activation and $500 minimum spend threshold within the first 90 days. Then you should get the 20,000 points within two statements from that point. A total of 4-5 statement periods.

      Hope that helps,

      GreedyRates Staff

  10. Just like to point out that I think your numbers are a little skewed. I have this card, and I will be getting rid of this card once my anniversary date is up. The reason being is that the 4%, while seeming awesome had a hidden caveat. The places you shop at have to be registered as “grocery” in order to be covered under the 4%. This means Walmart and Costco, which have dramatically better quality of goods and prices usually are not covered as grocery, so you’ll be only getting 1% on these purchases. Considering that where I live, these stores are the better choice vs Sobeys, Save-on and Safeway, I’ve just lost a lot of points because of this rule.

    • Hi David,

      Thanks for the feedback. Unfortunately, you’re correct, only standalone grocery and gas retail locations qualify. Costco is considered a discount wholesaler, not a grocer (although they don’t accept Amex anymore anyways) and most WalMarts is considered a general merchandise – these classifications are made by Amex on the merchant processing side of the business, not by Scotia.

      For Scotia to accept WalMart, they would then have to accept the likes of Sears and Hudson Bay, who are also considered general merchandise.

      To Scotia’s credit, they do make it pretty clear in their marketing collateral and disclosures. That said, if you’re a frequent WalMart shopper, this card will not provide the value you’re looking for, and there will be better alternatives. However, if you shop at Sobeys, Save-On, Safeway, Metro or any independent grocery store, you’ll get your 4%. Same with gas, if you fill up at a Canadian Tire location, you will not get credited. But fill up at any Petro, Shell, Esso, Husky location and you’re fine.

      GreedyRates Staff

  11. Hello
    I have a AMEX gold card do these points (20k) from Scotiabank link up into my AMEX gold account taking it from 25k to 45k in points? tx

    • Hi Mike,

      Unfortunately not! The points you earn from your Scotiabank Gold Amex card do not synch with your Amex Gold card points.


      GreedyRates Staff

      • But technically, you could transfer all existing Amex points to Aeroplan, then close or keep card – sign up for Scotiabank card.

        • Hi Jason,

          Absolutely you could – we’re all for accumulating as many bonus points without an annual fee as possible. However, I think Mike was looking for another means of accumulating Amex points. Unfortunately, The Scotia Gold Amex has no relationship with the Amex Gold Rewards Card or Amex points program.

          GreedyRates Staff

  12. This card would be great if they would bring back the higher sign up points and no first year fee. Do you think that is likely to happen soon?

    • We can’t confirm that it will or when it will. That said, if you’re looking for a book anywhere card, that allows you to apply your points to any travel expense on your credit card statement, the TD First Class Infinite card currently has a first year annual fee waiver and a 40,000 point sign-up bonus worth $200. Read the review and let us know what you think.


      GreedyRates Staff

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